Alright Wanderers, Happy New Year! I hope that wherever you were in the world your holidays were full of adventure & excitement. For me I was able to go back to Montreal to see my family & friends for the first time in 6 years for Christmas so that was a huge gift for me. Got back a week ago and was gifted with a not go great flu that's knocked me out for the last few days but I'm slowly recovering enough to finally get out of bed and get back onto the blog. So here we go with the first post of 2017!
My first night back in Montreal this holiday season I headed out with my brother to celebrate his birthday (Christmas Day baby) and I got to talking to a friend of his who couldn't seem to wrap their head around my constant coming and going. They explained how they'd moved to Toronto from Montreal and been so terrified that barely 6 months in they'd return to the comfort of Montreal and the city they knew. How I had "balls" to pick up and go somewhere I'd never been with no one I knew there. And as they went on about how they could never do that I laughed quietly to myself at how normal all of that feels to me. How it's become the norm within the last 5+ years for me. How I don't think I have "balls" but how it's just how my life is. How the thought of still living in the same town, working in the same place, surrounded by the same thing day after day scares me as much as moving away scared this person. It's something I knew instantly after my first cross country move, that I was okay, and more than that, happy with leaving a place behind and starting new. It's something I've said before that I thrive off that unknown. That to me living life from one place to the next is a norm. That's not true for everyone, and if you're happy with you life then I'm happy for you. This isn't me trying to tell you that my life is better than yours or you should live your life how I do. That's not the case for everyone, not at all. Some people, like myself, feel the most at home in foreign cities, meeting new people who turn into your family because like myself they're new to the place. And some people feel most at home in their homes, in their hometowns. To each their own.
Talking to my brother's friend & spending that week back in my hometown really gave me time to think about my life (as anyone who goes home to visit can attest to doing) and how it compared, or rather contrasts to other people I was catching up with. My circle of friends in Montreal has diminished significantly since the last time I lived there (in 2010) but the people who live there and still keep in touch are some of the single best people I know. No matter how often I come & go or where the world keeps me these people are always there instantly as soon as I touch down on that Poutine scented runway (that's a stereotypical Quebec joke, but it would be great if the YUL runway smelled of Poutine..). Now some of these people I've known 10 years, and others? Others are new to the friend group but make more of an effort than those I've known for decades. And as much as it sucks to lose friends, I've always been a quality over quantity kind of girl anyways. These people have their lives and their jobs or businesses set up and love living in Montreal. They escape a few times a year to sunnier views & tropical climates (winter in MTL will do that to a person) but always return to "La Belle Province" when it's over. Whereas I on the other hand return home to make sure my family doesn't forget about me & to swap out gear for the next trip. This trip home however had me escaping a place that I won't ever call home. A place that doesn't hold much for me & a place that I feel moderately okay with for some of the time. But being at home had me thinking "Would I have changed moving here if I could go back?" And the answer? No. I wouldn't change things. Leaving New Zealand was not what I wanted to do but what I had to do for legality sake (seriously immigration, still no free trade agreement yet?). And Vancouver was a place I had visited half a dozen times and loved. So thats where I set my sights. But now, having lived here 18 months or so, those feelings have obviously changed drastically. I don't regret moving here, because I never disliked Vancouver as a tourist. I looked at it as this grand city where the people are glamorous & the city sparkles. Where the ocean meets the mountains & the views are killer. I saw it a "grass is always greener" kind of person does from where they currently are. As a visitor I dreamed of living here, of calling the city home. And now that I do & have done just that I know that it's not for me. For me to call somewhere home, it has to be a place that makes it hard for me to leave. A place I want to show off to everyone not from here. A place that leaves me content at the end of the day. And had I not moved here, I wouldn't have really known or understood what it is that home really means to me.
So while I don't see Vancouver as my forever home, I wouldn't change wanting to make it that way for what it's taught me. How it taught me to truly appreciate the relationships I have no matter how far away I might be from those people. That although I come and go quite freely & will likely never live there again, Montreal will always be my home. Montreal will always be that place to go and rejuvenate my spirit. A place to be embraced full on by those that love & support me no matter how many days in a calendar year I spent there. The 514 was a place I couldn't wait to escape for so long, but now that I have, and have spent quite some time in a place that couldn't feel less homely to me, I've realized that even though escaping it was my goal, that Montreal will always have my heart.